Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a spicy appetizer belonging to the south indian cuisine. Boneless chicken is marinated in spices, yogurt, ginger and garlic, then fried to crispy perfection and then quickly tossed with curry leaves and chilies before serving. Its spicy, tangy and super delicious!

Having spent over four years of his student life in IIT Madras, my husband is a huge fan of south indian flavors. When we got married, I rarely knew anything about the cuisine except idlis, dosa or sambar vada which are really popular in the Delhi street food scene. However, slowly over the years I have learnt a lot of dishes that he likes and this Chicken 65 happens to be one of them.Not just him, my 8 year old has taken a liking to spicy foods in the past few years and she loves this one as well.

What is Chicken 65?

There are many theories behind how the dish got its name and really I won’t get into all that. Down south, from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, different regions make their own variations. Essentially, Chicken 65 is fiery deep fried chicken with the saltiness & the chewy crispiness that one mostly associates with fried chicken. The flavors packed in this appetizer range from curry leaves, ginger, garlic, kashmiri chili powder to thai bird chillies- few of those ingredients which always always make a happy indian recipe 🙂

How I make Chicken 65?

I start by marinating boneless chicken thigh pieces in spices and yogurt for a few hours. Once marinated I add rice flour and corn starch and the immediately deep fry it.Yes, this dish happens to be gluten free friendly. Once deep fried, immediately toss the chicken with curry leaves garlic and green chilies and serve. Really its that easy and a perfect snack or appetizer for any time or occasion.

Few things to keep in mind when you make Chicken 65 :-

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case.
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the chicken in the dish and its tastes of flour.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.
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Chicken 65

South indian appetizer made with spice and yogurt marinated deep fried chicken tossed in curry leaves and garlic.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For Marinating Chicken

  • 1.1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp plain thick yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp fine rice flour, unsweetened
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour

For Sauteing

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 thai green chilies, slit in half
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp sriracha (or Ching's red sauce), optional
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Lemon slices, sliced onions, cilantro to serve

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add chicken to a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chili powders, yogurt and turmeric. Mix well to coat. Cover and marinate for atleast 3 hours.
  • Set the oil for frying to heat up on medium stove.
  • Mix the rice flour and cornstarch with the marinated chicken. Use your hands to mix and coat all the chicken. The chicken should look dryish after coating.
  • Check the oil by dropping a tiny piece of chicken. It should come uo sizzling. If so, the temperature of oil is right. Deep fry the chicken in small batches on medium high heat. Don't over crowd else the chicken will be chewy. Fry all the chicken in batches and drain on a paper towel.

Stir frying

  • Heat up oil in a wok on high heat. Crackle the mustard seeds. Add the garlic, curry leaves and green chilies next. Saute for about 30 seconds on high heat till leaves crisp up a bit.
  • Next add the sriracha. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the fried chicken, add vinegar and toss everything for couple minutes so that the fried chicken is coated nicely. Serve right away with lemons and sliced onions!

Notes

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case. In step 1, substitute with paneer in batons, button mushrooms, tofu or soaked soya chunks. 
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the dish.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.

3 thoughts on “Chicken 65

    • Yes absolutely. Drizzle oil and layer in a single layer in your air fryer. You will have to do in batches 🙂

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, poet, quilter. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. After many years of daily serving up of our local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, cooking classes, etc. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible people have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, but now turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. I write poetry as the spirit wills, and the occasional short story. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat meat or dairy (usually), I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been know to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me as well as the youngers in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to read. I enjoy taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary penpals! XXXOOO
    Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen on said:

    This looks really delicious!

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